Experimenting with Raw Pies

Raw pie recipes provide more freedom for experimentation than ordinary pies, since the crust sets by refrigeration rather than baking. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, sesame seeds, and others all create different flavors.

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With fresh-harvested macadamia nuts gathered from VeganLand, Gentle World volunteer Flowers Fields decided it was the perfect time to play around in the kitchen with a version of one of her favorite recipes: vegan raw pie made with nuts and berries!

Using only dates as sweetener, and replacing flour and oil with ground nuts and seeds, this healthy treat was not only a beautiful sight to behold 😍 it was also a HUGE hit that disappeared in a flash.

We don’t have an exact recipe to share, but since one of our Facebook readers asked for one, we thought we could at least show our readers how easy it can be to make something similar. For those who are interested in a tried-and-true recipe, with measurements and all, check out the Raw Blueberry Cream Pie recipe that we published in Gentle World’s second vegan recipe book, Incredibly Delicious.

But one of the great things about raw pie recipes is that they provide more freedom for experimentation than ordinary pies. When baking, it’s important to get the crust recipe just right, to make sure it’s not too dry and crumbly, or too moist and sticky. With raw pies, the crust sets by refrigeration rather than baking, so it’s easier to get the texture right with some basic guidelines.

Here’s what Flowers had to say about her approach to raw pie making:

In summer I make raw pies from berries that I pick myself. In cooler temperatures I buy organic frozen blueberries or strawberries and even black cherries (which I mix with strawberries.)

I also pick apples in August-October for raw apple pie, or to use in between layers of berries. 

I use a food processor to make the pie crust, using nuts and seeds with a few dates to sweeten. 

You can use a variety of nuts and seeds, depending on your preference. You can even use some oats, or shredded coconut. Almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and others create different flavors and textures for the crust. (I use any extra crust mixture in the upper part of the pie for decorating and I like the variation in color of berries and nuts, so personally I prefer to use nuts of a lighter color.)

Here in Hawaii, I pick macadamia nuts, dry them in the sun, and crack them open. So this pie crust is mostly macadamia nuts, some cashews, sesame seeds and dates. After processing these ingredients in the food processor with the S-blade, I check for sweetness to taste. 

The mixture gets pressed into a pie plate. Then I take a couple of bananas and slice them thinly to form a layer covering the crust. Then with the grater blade, I grate an apple, and spread this grated apple on top of the bananas. 

The next layer is organic frozen strawberries blended in the food processor with dates. I add just a little water to thin it. (For fresh berries, no water is needed as they’re very wet). I also add about 1-3 tsp of psyllium husk to make it set. (Sometimes I use ground chia seeds instead of psyllium.) Once it’s somewhat smooth and slightly chunky, I spread this layer on top of the grated apples. 

Then I do the same thing with the organic frozen blueberries (or fresh-picked blueberries or blackberries.) I process them with the S-blade with dates. I taste it to see if it’s sweet enough, and add a little water to the frozen blueberries and 2-3 tsp psyllium. 

(Remember with fresh berries, no water is needed as the berries make their own water.) 

Finally, I decorate it with the blueberry-date-psyllium mixture and leftover pie crust on top of the strawberry layer. 

Refrigerate and eat within three days.

A few more variations:

Mango pies can be made by blending mangoes in the food processor with psyllium, then spread over the crust mixture under a layer of thin sliced bananas.

For an apple pie, after the layer of sliced bananas, add a layer of grated apple (with some lemon squeezed over to prevent the apples from oxidizing.) Chopped dates and cinnamon can be added to taste.

Cashews, sesame seeds and coconut blended together with dates can make a white cream for decorating, or to be used as the top layer. 

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